The India-based Economic Times posted an article on May 10, 2009 about how "the much-touted mobile banking" has "yet to take off in the country owing to lack of customer awareness and staff training."
"Union Bank of India, the first state-owned bank which introduced mobile-based banking services in the market, has so far added only 1,700 customers in mobile banking, bank's, General Manager (Personal Banking) S Govindan said. 'Many customers are still finding it difficult to download the software. Also, the staff needs to be trained in a better way to help customers. As the customer-awareness improve, I hope that the response will pick up,'" explained Govindan.
According to Union Bank of India's website, "UMobile - a milestone in banking - provides the customers a secure and convenient means of inquiries and fund transfer from anywhere anytime. Customers can transfer money to Union Bank of India accounts, check their account balance and do a mini- statement, all this happens by way of secured messaging from their mobile handsets. UMobile is a secured payment channel since the customer does not compromise with his debit card number or ATM pin."
To better promote the mobile banking service, Union Bank of India "plans to launch 20 dedicated branches across the country in the next 10-15 days where trained staff will help customers understand the product." One problem may be the fact that customers of the Union Bank of India's UMobile service are required to download an application into their mobile device. I suspect many technical problems would be eliminated if the UMobile service was available directly through a web browser.
State Bank of India (SBI), India's largest commercial bank, also reports a poor response for its mobile banking product, SBI FreedoM, that was launched in December 2008 in association with local technology-service provider, Spanco Telesystems. The Economic Times article explains, "SBI has so far received only 10,000 registrations for mobile banking but hopes to attract more clients to avail the service in the months ahead, an SBI official said. 'It will take some time for this (mobile banking) to pick up. People are not techno-savvy and keep apprehensions about the safety of this service,' [a] SBI official said. As of now, SBI does not have any plans to launch special programmes to attract more customers into mobile banking fold but will look at these options in future, the official said."